Goodbye BillG, goodbye SteveB. It’s been nice. Well, not really…

In 1984 I played around with a machine that was destined to change the world. When I first saw it I could not believe it was what it was. It was small and compact but oh, so cool. Compared to other machines of its type, this one was completely different — inside and out.

That machine was a Macintosh computer. Yesterday, I finally purchased one. A 20-inch iMac with a 250GB hard drive, a gig of RAM, an AT RAdeon video card, and the rest of the god stuff a Mac brings. Let me explain why it’s taken me this long to buy one.

Macs, historically, have been very expensive. When the Lisa (the Mac’s mom) came out in the early 80s it was priced in the high four figure range. For a person earning a salary that was only a little more than the Lisa’s price, that was an impossiblity. Then the Mac (now known as the “Classic”) came out, and I had already invested money in a PC and it was too late. When the 90s came around, and after my second downsizing, I decided to start a small graphic design firm with a good friend of mine. We did price comparisons at the time (1992) and we would have had to spend close to $9,000 versus $4,000 to equip our studio with Macs running Adobe Illustrator versus PCs running Windows 3.1 and CorelDraw. Price won the day again.

Don’t think I didn’t use Macs, though. Our service bureau had them and I knew how to use the applications. I loved it. I drooled every time I used one and had to flog myself like a penitent Shia every time I came back home to my PC.

During those dark, wilderness years I used, like many of you, PCs loaded with Microsoft operating systems. First, it was MS-DOS, then in 1990, Windows 3.0. (Remember the “unrecoverable application error”?) Three dot zero was an improvement over DOS, but it was a pale imitation of a Macintosh. However, I used it. I learned to become a masochist. I reveled in the pain that Windows 3.0, and then 3.1, caused me. (Remember the “general protection fault”?) I suffered every day and began to enjoy it. If a day went by without me yelling obscenities uncontrollably at my monitor, my day was not complete. Then came 3.11, which was an improvement. Sort of like preferring to have a shattered kneecap rather than a gunshot wound to the stomach. I lived with it. I enjoyed and revelled in the the pain some more.

In 1996, and very fearful of upgrading because of the horror stories of incompatibilities, I was finally humiliated by a fellow geek into upgrading when I told him I still used Windows 3.11. My embarassment was devastating, his critique spot on. So I went out, and in an attempt to better my tormenter, I priced Macs again. Still, too expensive. Damn. Damn. Damn.

At that point, rather than taking my collectible Japanese dagger out to disembowel myself, I decided to to upgrade to Windows 95. It worked fine for a few years with a minimum of pain. (Not a shattered kneecap, this time; it was akin to a migraine that comes and goes quickly.) Then, in true masochist form, I decided to follow the herd and install Windows 98 Second Edition on my PC. Here my friends is where the story gets worse: from 1999 until late 2002, I ran that piece of shit OS every day, and every day, I had problems. Crashes, updates, reinstalls, reboots. You name it. I was almost committed by my wife at one point for having a sotto voce conversation with my computer wherein I threatend it with an ignominous end in the Everglades at a shooting range.

A good friend of mine who works at a large company that produces software in the Pacific Northwest region (we’ll call her “Nina Myers” to protect her identity) told me to forget my old apps, start from scratch, and install Windows 2000 Pro on a fresh hard drive. “Nina,” I explained, while adjusting my thorazine drip, “I can’t handle any more OS relationship rejection. I… I… just… can’t deal… with it… any more.” The dagger was calling my name. As it turns out, Nina was correct — in the 90 percentile. I lived with Win2K (as we cognoscenti know it) from 2002 until this summer, with a minimum of problems, and occasional crashes.

Then, once again, thorazine drip next to my desk, ceremonial dagger close by on the shelf, I decided to upgrade to Windows XP Pro — an upgrade, as MS recommends, not a clean install, because I could not afford to lose the settings in the software I had installed for my free-lance business. Actually, that statement is not completely true. I didn’t decide to upgrade; software I had purchased forced me to upgrade. Since that fateful weekend, my friends, my computing life has turned into the equivalent of Saddam hiding in his spider hole. Here are some stats. My average boot time, from the moment I turn the PC on, to the moment all the apps are loaded: 6 minutes. Shutdown time: 3 minutes. Open Microsoft apps: longer than they should. My Adobe and Macromedia apps: don’t ask.

So I decided finally to bite the bullet and buy a Mac. I wrote this essay on it. It’s a pleasure to use. My boot time on the Mac? about a minute.

Life is good.

(Author’s note: I corrected the original text because I made an error in the chronology of one of the paragraphs. My WinAmnesia was suddenly lifted by simply using a Mac for 48 hours…)

17 thoughts on “Goodbye BillG, goodbye SteveB. It’s been nice. Well, not really…”

  1. Pitbull- Among other tasks, I spend my work days trouble shooting and help desking MS Windows OS and software. I would say that 99.99% of problems I find are from the user. I have to say, not once,at home or work has my CPU crashed, not once. 🙂

  2. You are on the luckiest Windows users in the world. If this story were unique, I’d say I was the problem. But Windows is a lousy product that has to pander to the lowest common denominator. When you start using design apps like I do, the performance just goes to hell. In any event, I have my Mac and it works beautifully.

  3. Congratulations! I made the switch a few months ago, after a similarly long period of lust. Not regretting it for a minute. If you want, shoot me an email and I’ll help you get adjusted to the brave new world of Mac.

  4. Hehheheh….Mac user here since March ’97, George. 🙂 Actually, I’m on my second one right now. My first was a Performa 2400/200, my second (Christmas present from Dad, 2002) is an iMac G4, 1GB memory, 60GB HD (with two LaCie auxillaries, one 40 GB, the other 160 GB). The first couple of years I had the first one, I regularly cursed the sky for all the apps and games out there that were “Windoez Only”, but now, since Steve J has come back to Apple, there are very few things out there that don’t have a Mac version (and even that’s been rendered a moot point by the “MacTel” machines that are out now and “Boot Camp”). Even with all that though, there’s never been a day, with all the horror stories I’ve seen and heard, plus having to work with Windoez at work, that I’ve ever regretted going with Mac (hell, I even own two, count ’em TWO Newtons!) Welcome to the club, George! 🙂

  5. George if you use design apps so much I have no clue what the hell you were doing using a PC. Everyone knows once you go graphic, you go MAC.

    Personally, once we have a family, I too will purchase a MAC (spouse will have a fit). But for movies, pictures etc. and even for the kids it’s much better and faster than a PC.

    Be warned though, MACs to crash, do freeze, and will give you moments in which you want to hammer the shit out of it. It just will happen less b/c it can better support graphics.

    Graphics apps aside – I concur with Ziva.

  6. Venti, price has always been a consideration with me until last week when I saw this deal and said enough’s enough.

  7. George, I was a PC guy until February of 1996. That’s when I started my career in advertising. Our boss had mad an investment in going all Mac, a rarity even in the ad business where most people use PCs except the creatives. In our office only the media people used PCs. I currently have two Mac laptops (one provided by my employer) and an older model CRT imac.

    Welcome to the club.

  8. ahhh yes, price is always an issue. Henry I’ve had it both ways, I’ve worked at agencies where as you everyone but media had a MAC, and agencies were only the creatives had a MAC.

    However, being the poor doctoral student that I am, and having no needs for graphics yet (see post above) I will remain a PC user for now.

  9. I’m still using a PC, and am typing this on a laptop. I kinda hate this, but I also am sort of a Masochist.. one day I’ll say goodbye to Bill Gates, et tal, but for now he’s my best friend.

  10. heh, george goes hippy.

    I like PCs because used ones are way, way cheaper and easier to find, plus I can tinker with them myself. and with the flood of open source software floating around on the internet, there are many, many new options these days.

    oh yeah, and I don’t like cults. they make me nervous.

    (although, cult-like pursuits like graphic design, video editing, etc., almost require a mac.)

  11. Waah…I miss my PowerBook. Although, really, I have a pretty bad technology vibe. Whatever it is, I can make it not work right just by blinking at it. heh. Oh well, congrats George. Enjoy your lovely new setup. 🙂

  12. So far so good. My first task was to transer my 143GB of audio & video media files over. iTunes works like a champ, QuickTime works like a champ.

  13. Welcome George. I use PCs at work and have done so for years. I’ve never owned one. I bought a Mac SE in 1987 and have run through several since ( current one, Powermac G4/400 bought in 2000 ) . I have no problem with PC enthusiasts. Every one likes different things, but I’ve found that the Mac’s longer lifespan offsets the price difference to a large extent.
    Enjoy your Mac.

  14. Congratulations, George, on the new arrival. You’ll love it, just love it. And when you don’t, you have nice folks like, oh, certain people I know to talk to.

  15. Thanks a lot for all this info ….. I will soon face an upgrade and have been mulling getting a Mac. Won’t miss the PC that much. Free market ~ little something for everyone.

  16. George: Congrats on finally taking the dive!

    I work in IT and I have extensively used more operating systems than I care to remember. Needless to say, I use a Mac as my computer of choice both at home and at work because it is by far the most advanced, reliable, and friendly computer I have ever had the pleasure to own. And while many have said that Macs are best for graphics, as an Unix administrator (Linux, AIX, Solaris), I don’t make much use of that aspect of my Macs. But because Macs are based on Unix, they are the perfect computer for what I do. It is no wonder that nearly all the Unix admins I know prefer Macs these days as well.

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